Philadelphia defense lawyer A. Charles Peruto Jr., who is representing the judge presiding in the Meek Mill case, has sued Roc Nation and Amazon over a leaked off-the-record audio recording, in which he appears to harshly criticize his client.
Peruto began the suit by filing a praecipe to issue a writ of summons Wednesday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where Peruto’s client, Genece Brinkley, is a judge. The court papers, which do not describe the crux of the lawsuit, say the claims are related to libel, slander and misrepresentation, and that the case seeks more than $50,000.
Jim Beasley Jr. of The Beasley Firm filed the suit on behalf of Peruto.
In a conversation Thursday morning, Peruto confirmed that the suit stems from an audio recording taken during the filming of a documentary about the hip hop star that was later leaked to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The documentary is being co-produced by Amazon Digital Services and Roc Nation, which is Mill’s management company.
In the audio, Peruto can be heard saying, among other things, that Brinkley’s conduct “looks fucking awful.”
Peruto said Thursday that a portion of the audio was cut out of the leaked recording, which would have given the proper context to his comments, in which he said he praised the judge for following the law. He also said he made the comments off the record, and when he believed the camera had been turned off.
Taking the recording out of context, he said, placed him in a false light, and, since he had thought the camera was no longer recording him, it may also constitute a violation of the Wiretap Act, he added. He also said he was never told Roc Nation was producing the documentary.
“I would have never participated in the first place, let along make an off-the-record comment,” he said. “I want to know who leaked this, and why it was only leaked in half.”
The controversy over Mill’s case has been building over the past year, with much of the criticism focusing on Brinkley.
Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, has been on probation since 2008. In November 2017, Brinkley sentenced him to a two- to four-year prison sentence for a probation violation—a sentence that staggered the rapper’s supporters. since neither Mill’s probation officer nor the prosecutor on the case had sought jail time.
The sentence garnered national attention and sparked an outcry for criminal justice reforms. It also led to a protracted appeals process, which has spurred hundreds of additional appeals involving cases from Mill’s arresting officer, led one court employee to be fired, and raised an ethical cloud over Brinkley, which eventually led her to hire Peruto.
Philadelphia-based Sixx Degrees Media was also named in the lawsuit. The lawsuit does not indicate why that company is being sued.
Founder and CEO Sixx King said his company has worked with Mill’s team, primarily hosting the rallies that have occurred in connection with Mill’s case. King said his company did not release the audio.
“I don’t know if he’s just throwing everything on the wall and seeing what sticks,” King said. “I just think the lawsuit is without merit.”
Neither Amazon nor Roc Nation immediately returned a message seeking comment.